June 12, 2012 / 4:54 PM / in 5 years

Former Ivory Coast leader's trial postponed

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - War crimes judges on Tuesday postponed the trial of former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo by two months to give his defense more time to prepare.

Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo (C) talks to a security guard during his initial court appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool

Gbagbo is accused by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity during a four-month civil war that followed his refusal to stand down after losing a 2010 presidential election. About 3,000 people died in the conflict, and a million were displaced.

His lawyers requested a delay in proceedings in The Hague last week, saying they were short-staffed and were not ready for the trial, which had been due to start on June 18.

They also said Gbagbo would not be healthy enough to attend proceedings unless he had more time to recover from ill-treatment he had received while in detention in Ivory Coast before being handed over to the ICC.

Judges agreed to a delay and set a trial date of August 13.

Reporting By Thomas Escritt, editing by Diana Abdallah

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